Print opportunities in e-commerce parcels

Jo Francis
Thursday, December 4, 2014

Chaotic Black Friday scenes did not find favour with Jo Francis, who finds better news for printers in another booming aspect of the Christmas shopping season.

Black Friday, Cyber Monday… we haven’t been short of headlines related to the pre-Christmas shopping splurge over the past week.

Following the ghastly sight of shoppers fighting over flatscreen TVs in Tesco, what’s definitely a known known is that lots of people will choose a more relaxed approach to doing their Christmas shopping.

They will do it from the comfort of the settee, using online shops.

The UK is something of a market leader in this respect, with stats from the Centre for Retail Research predicting the e-commerce market here will increase by 15.8% (that’s on top of a 16.8% rise in 2013) to just shy of £45bn this year.

The good news is, various opportunities for printers can be found in this huge and growing shopping space.

All these items have to be packed in something, be it a branded box, or some sort of heavy-duty branded polybag. Even the seemingly dull invoice/delivery note and address label results in a nice little order for someone, somewhere – I was chatting to a print boss just the other day who told me that this type of work had turned into a multi-million pound product line for his firm.

And there’s more. A recent package from Boden received at Francis Towers contained a delightful little Boden-branded notebook as a customer goody (“this is a small thank-you for your order, hope it comes in handy”), together with an envelope of “special offers for friends of Boden”.

The envelope contained five separate promo leaflets and vouchers from other brands, including a foiled voucher with pop-out gift card element, and 8pp, 4pp and 2pp promotional leaflets.

Also in the package was a sample pack of ten Yorkshire Gold tea bags, contained in a miniature version of the company’s usual carton.

There’s a clear promotional advantage here because the parcel is going out anyway, the demographics of the customer are known, there’s some spare space inside the parcel, and the weight of the promo items was negligible in the scheme of things.

And the packaging materials and promos were all printed by someone, somewhere. Rah!

While Boden is something of an exemplar when it comes to making great use of the power of print, your clients out there in the wider world of interweb retail might not be. It’s not just parcel delivery services for whom the e-commerce opportunity knocks.

A parcel with promotional punch is a good thing. Being on the end of an actual punch while out shopping most definitely is not.




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